Last weekend was jam making weekend! I had already made a batch of cherry jam with the fruit from my parents’ garden earlier in the year (yet to be tasted), now it was the turn of the blackberries picked from our local area. There were just so many this year! Big ones too!
Because I knew I wouldn’t be able to use them straight away, and wild blackberries don’t keep long at all, I froze them in bags, waiting for the day when they would meet their destiny.
Jam is so easy to make at home. It tastes so much better than supermarket stuff. It doesn’t necessarily cost less though, unless you recycle jars. I sometimes do, but generally I buy jars from Lakeland because I like giving jams and preserves as gifts and they look nice in a fresh jar.
It takes about 30 minutes to make a basic jam, and about 45 minutes if you want a smooth, pip-free jam (which is what I made this time). Here’s the basic version:
A quantity of blackberries (or raspberries, hulled and chopped strawberries, stoned cherries, or a mixture)
Weigh your berries. You need the same weight of jam sugar to berries.
Put a saucer in the freezer.
Put the berries in your largest pan on a low heat. Cook them until soft and liquid. Mine started out like this
and I cooked them until they were like this. I used a potato masher to help speed things along.
Next, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Then raise the heat, and bring it to a fast boil. Keep it boiling rapidly for five minutes, like this
After five minutes, take the saucer from the freezer, and carefully drop a spoonful of jam onto it. Wait a few seconds, then push it with your finger. If it wrinkles up, the jam is ready. If it’s still runny, boil for another minute, then test again.
Pour the hot jam into sterilised jars (see my page on How to sterilise jars).
To make a smooth, pip-free version
You don’t need to weigh the berries before starting, as the weight will reduce when the pips are strained out. Before adding the sugar, set a bowl on your weighing scales, and a coarse sieve over the bowl. Set the scales to zero. Then spoon the hot berries into the sieve. Press them to get as much juice out as possible.
It’s best to do this in batches. Eventually, you will have a pile of discarded pips, a bowl of juice, and a scale that tells you how much juice there is. This measurement is the quantity of sugar you need. Pour the juice back into the pan, and continue with the recipe above.
You get a lot more jam if you don’t strain out the pips (almost double the quantity with the berries I used), but it does taste really nice!
What is your favourite flavour of jam?
See you soon!